Last month, in “Jeff Buys Loudspeakers: The Vimberg Tondas,” I announced that I’d bought a pair of Vimberg Tondas to use as my reference loudspeakers. I also challenged Tidal and Vimberg designer and CEO, Jorn Janczak, to show us exactly what goes into the making of a set of Vimbergs. What follows, in words and photos, is the story of my pair of Tondas, from raw cabinets to packing in their flight cases, followed by a set of measurements of that pair of units.
Raw cabinets, made in Germany. Note the veneer, strategically applied to ensure a seamless lacquer finish for years to come.
Sanding the cabinet smooth before the first coats of lacquer are applied.
Automated polishing considerably cuts down on the finishing time.
In some areas, however, automated sanding is just not feasible, plus . . .
. . . in the interest of a mirror-like finish, final polishing by a person is just a necessity.
A jig is applied before the final milling of the midrange-and-tweeter compartment, which . . .
. . . must be done by a Tidal-Vimberg craftsman. This jig ensures . . .
. . . a precise cut, which, when completed, is . . .
. . . verified by measurement.
Milling and drilling reveal the substantial thickness of the lacquer coating.
Note the aluminum mounting rings to which the woofers are affixed.
The tweeter and midrange drivers are mounted in an aluminum subbaffle that must be . . .
. . . perfectly fitted to the cabinet proper, so that . . .
. . . the joins are precise.
The midrange driver is mounted to the aluminum subbaffle . . .
. . . with machine screws.
The woofers are affixed to the aluminum mounting rings in the same fashion -- no wood screws here.
The Vimberg badge is applied to . . .
. . . the bottom front of the cabinet.
The crossover, mounted on a thick baseplate, is . . .
. . . inserted in a subcompartment in the cabinet’s base.
Vimberg speakers come standard with Argento binding posts.
Final cleaning allows a craftsman to . . .
. . . ensure the high cosmetic quality of each finished speaker.
After 24 hours of burn-in, the final acoustic measurements are performed.
Measuring each speaker before it’s delivered to the buyer . . .
. . . ensures that parameters such as . . .
. . . frequency response (unsmoothed, 5dB scale) meet Vimberg’s published specifications for the Tonda.
It takes two people to pack a Vimberg speaker.
My Vimberg Tondas are packed in their flight cases (optional, $1600/pair) before heading for North Carolina.
Frequency response, 190Hz–20kHz.
Frequency response, 190Hz–10kHz. The result is +/- 0.5dB!
Left and right speakers, overlaid frequency responses, 190Hz–10kHz, using a 2.5dB scale. Pretty close!
One-third-octave smoothing (red) vs. unsmoothed frequency responses, overlaid, 190Hz–10kHz.
Cumulative spectral-decay (i.e., waterfall) plot.
I’ve been involved in the business of high-end audio for over 20 years, and in that time I’ve seen and heard more products than I care to remember. In those two decades I’ve never failed to be surprised at how often a company’s actual production units fall short of the claims made for them in marketing. Often, the reason comes down to the company’s quality control, or lack thereof. You’d be surprised how many high-end loudspeakers are packed in their crates for shipment without being subjected to any acoustical testing.
While I haven’t yet heard my pair of Vimberg Tondas -- they’re still on their way here -- I can say that I’m satisfied with the process I see laid out by Janczak & Co. in these photos. John Ruskin once said, “Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort. There must be the will to produce a superior thing.”
And that can certainly apply to a pair of loudspeakers.
. . . Jeff Fritz